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Alexandria Seeking State Funds To Help Build Potomac Yard Metro Station

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Alexandria officials hope to build a Metro station at Potomac Yard.
City of Alexandria
Alexandria officials hope to build a Metro station at Potomac Yard.

In Virginia, new money collected regionally as part of last year's landmark transportation agreement is starting to flow to local governments. Locally, the first big project might be a new Metro station in Alexandria.

The Potomac Yard Metro station could cost anywhere from $200 million to $460 million, depending on where it's located and what design is selected. City leaders in Alexandria planned to finance construction of the station by themselves, along with some contributions from developers.

But that plan violated the city's debt ceiling and created significant risk. So now City Council members are about to submit a wish list to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority that includes a request for $58 million over the next decade to help finance the project.

"There's a perception that Alexandria's needs are far less greater than the rest of the region because they look at us as being built out, and so folks are probably scratching their heads and saying, you know, why do they need so much money?", says Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille.

City leaders say they need the money to help reduce the risk of funding construction of the Metro station, which they say will serve the region. For the first two years, city leaders are asking for about $1.5 million. That means most of the money will come after 2016.

"The rat in the python for us is the Potomac Yard Metrorail station, and that's something we need to alert the NVTA to that we going to be looking for those funds," says Councilman Tim Lovain.

Alexandria Vice Mayor Allison Silberberg has a different way of putting it: "It's a huge kahuna financially."

Councilman Justin Wilson says members of the General Assembly who opposed the transportation agreement will be watching Northern Virginia carefully.

"There's going to be a lot of folks in Richmond who are looking for this to fail, and so we need to show the best set of projects out there to convince the folks in Richmond and around the state that this was a good idea," he says.

Council members are set to approve a final list of projects later this month, although the authority will have the final say.

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